Many people ask if they can practice tantric Yoga when they are married. They think it has to do with sex. This is a complete misunderstanding of tantric Yoga, which doesn’t involve any sexual union. The tantric scriptures of old are not referring to physical union, though they sometimes use terms of that nature to express a certain spiritual coming together.

In the Christian tradition you may say a sister is wedded to God or the church, or you can say a pious Jew is wedded to the Torah. Of course, this doesn’t mean a marriage for any sexual purpose. It’s the same in tantric Yoga. The union is of Siva and Shakti, which are the masculine and feminine vibrations or powers that are within each of us. The power that creates and manifests is Shakti. The static part, which is the cause of the basis, is Siva. In the body itself, the power of Siva is from the naval upward. The power of Shakti resides below.

Anything that pulls you down should be pulled up. So that subtle force-the creative energy-that may draw you into the sensory area should be raised up. In deep meditation the mind becomes still. You build up static energy-a little warmth-which is Shakti. That is slowly raised to the head, Siva, where they unite. By your regular meditation practice you awaken that great energy stored at the base of the spine, often called the Kundalini force. It happens when your mind is one-pointed in deep meditation.

The union of Shakti and Siva is figurative. Spiritual teachings are often given in code language. Don’t think that everybody can read the Bible and understand it. Ancient scriptures all have that esoteric or inner meaning. Here the tantric or spiritual union is described as the union of the female aspect with the male aspect or Shakti with Siva. That language can easily be misunderstood as referring to physical union.

There’s a great deal of misunderstanding about these things. If you come across a tantric Yoga book you many read of the offering of madya which is wine or liquor. That is not the drink that is meant in the teachings. The madya are certain hormones within. Precisely, they are the subtle psychic hormones produced by the pituitary and pineal glands, and the force behind and around them. When that Kundalini or creative force rises up, it brings warmth to those glands, and they secrete this hormones which no doctor has every seen in his test tubes. That hormone is called madya, the nectar you taste when Siva and Shakti are joined in union. You become exhilarated. You are spiritually intoxicated by that nectar.

Unfortunately, this has all been misinterpreted on a worldly level. Some people are “teaching” tantric Yoga. But this very union will happen in your regular meditation. Tantric union will happen during any deep meditation, at the point when you have kept your mind still for a considerable amount of time.

It can be proven scientifically. When the body is completely motionless, you will feel a warmth. Because there’s no wastage, the energy becomes static, just like the warmth of the current you feel in a condenser. You can feel a battery’s warmth because there is current which isn’t flowing, but is stored. During meditation you store all your prana, your vital energy, in the body. There’s no mental movement, no disturbing thoughts arising in the mind, so even that small amount of energy used to shake the mind is saved. This builds the static energy that creates a warmth.

When you go deep into meditation for such an experience, your body must also be capable of bearing it. Otherwise it will burst, as when you try to store too much current in a weak condenser. This is why the body must be built up with Yoga practices.

So, build a pure, strong, and flexible body. Then develop this force in you. Let it build up through your deep meditation. Rouse the static power to go through the spine and ascend to the skull. That is the Meru, the Himalayas, the height, the heavens. This is the moment you taste the nectar of spiritual union and are intoxicated by that great experience.

Excerpted from To Know Your Self by Swami Satchidananda, ©Satchidananda Ashram-Yogaville. Reprinted with permission.